Providing high-quality healthcare is a fundamental cornerstone of modern societies. Yet, the manner in which practitioners and patients interact is far from standardized. Cultural norms and traditional methods evolve gradually.
At present, people’s greatest concern is that their ailments are being diagnosed based upon big data and mathematical algorithms. Patients prefer to be thought of as individuals, and not numbers within statistical models.
Nevertheless, the wide-ranging use of digital data continues to encourage medical practitioners to consider the value of:
- Early detection,
- Lifestyle choices determination,
- Hereditary patterns and environmental factors influence.
By feeding these elements into the “diagnosis equation”, doctors and patients alike can consider a better range of potential treatments.
In fact, the US government’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) is predicated, in part, on understanding insurance trends that cause people to purchase – or avoid buying – healthcare coverage.
ACA, nicknamed Obamacare, is a United States federal statute enacted by the 111th United States Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010.
Demand for high-quality healthcare systems ensures that the provision of services, determination of costs and insurance reimbursement payments will be provided by the most efficient providers in the marketplace.
In response, hospitals, one-off clinics, physicians, nurses, administrative workers have all championed HIPAA compliant medical software as highly valuable tools that can be used in achieving profitability, while retaining patients.
While patients are focused on personalized healthcare, supercomputers are busy simulating a multitude of humans’ thought processes to gauge acceptability levels for delivered care. Add self-learning into the mix, and our medical system is nearing ever closer to cognition via AI, or “Artificial Intelligence”.
Everyone from doctors to bureaucratic administrators and bean-counters (accountants), are lining up to apply software tools to understand the viability of surgical procedures, percentage chances for recovery & survival and predicted costs that must be paid by patients’ premiums + deductibles, or offset by insurance companies and absorbed by institutional and individual healthcare providers.
Medical Software, Meet Your New Partner, “The Cloud”
While the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act might have seemed, at the time, a surefire model for slowing down the speed and frequency of medical data exchange within computer networks, smart security, firewalls, storage redundancy needs and more have led to a multi-billion dollar industry that shows no sign of diminution, anytime soon.
Reliable computer hardware infrastructure is the foundation of EMR (Electronic Medical Records). In parallel, the expansion of data accessibility via mobile devices, and the interoperability efficiencies among systems is experiencing tremendous growth.
Custom healthcare software development companies have sprung up to meet the insatiable appetite for inventors of medical devices and managers of healthcare records, seeking to connect their products and services to “The Cloud.”
In fact, cracking through the (invisible) fortress wall of secure, Cloud-based computing and data exchange is the gold standard for any modern-day software company; as it virtually guarantees a seat at the table during discussions among healthcare players about which systems to use.
Leaders in the field, from academics to profit-motivated hospital systems understand the moral and real-world needs for ensuring speed, reliability and rock-solid stability that incorporates disaster recovery as an equally strong link in the data chain.
By demonstrating the ability to successfully manage patient data, healthcare providers are helping direct the flow of funds – to the tune of 100’s of millions of dollars each year – from patients, insurance providers, and buyers of medical software alike.
Software Can Be Fashionable – or at Least “Wearable”
The Fitbit company, founded a decade ago in San Francisco, California, is among the world pioneers in wearable technology that wirelessly calculates and communicates heart rates, calories, number of steps that are walked or climbed, etc.
Paired with apps that people use on smartphones and tablets, a social dimension has also been created, as people share goals and data with each other.
Rehab facilities leverage data collected from willing patients, who wear software-enabled fitness devices during in- and out-patient scenarios. The result is often shorter rehabilitation timeframes with lesser amounts of pain.
Likewise, surgeons collect data, in real-time, and for subsequent review, using devices that capture digital images, static & moving video.
Emergency Medical Service personnel, such as ambulance and paramedic teams, use body-mounted devices to capture on-scene data and gather quick research to aid decision-making.
Even the most tech-challenged populations purchase off-the-shelf equipment to measure symptoms and progress associated with back, knee and neck pain, as well as monitoring blood pressure, heart rate, glucose level, and more.
A Whole New World of Medical Portals and mHealth Apps
Becoming an active participant in one’s own health is liberating; and the use of smartphone apps that are linked to online portals means that patients are more invested, at earlier stages, in their personal health stories.
When individuals have access to diagnostic tools, they don’t have to wait for their physician’s evaluation to see and understand how their health indicators are changing.
One study by HIMSS (The Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society) shows that a 21 percent reduction in healthcare costs occurred for patients who actively learn and utilize technologies that aided their personalized health management.
Nearly 2500 adults across the US, UK, Germany, Australia, China, Germany, Japan, India, Mexico, Russia, Korea, Brazil, and Turkey, were surveyed in 2014 by FICO regarding their interest in healthcare provider interactions using their smartphones.
Eighty percent of respondents approved the idea. The evolving use of technology includes appointment and medication reminders, searchable databases of medical advice and treatment use cases regarding symptoms, treatments, recovery periods, pain levels, and more.
Entire revenue streams are being created by the inclusion of relevant healthcare offers of services and products – which can be purchased, securely online via eCommerce.
When a healthcare clinic initiates communications via robocalls and automated texts, individuals may be prone to scheduling screening appointments, flu-shots, blood donations, etc.
Healthcare Software Elevated to a “Thing” Status
The World Wide Web, an endless source of information (sometimes dubious, sometimes immensely helpful, and sometimes downright magical), has been evolving since “surfing the Internet”, a phrase coined by Mark McCahill, known as the Gopher protocol father, became a thing.
The most important Darwinian turn has been the IoT (Internet of Things) or IoMT (the “M” is for “Medical”).
Simply stated, doctors, healthcare administrative staff, and patients alike are all interconnected via Web-enabled devices.
According to Frost & Sullivan, a company dedicated to aiding its clientele in achieving positive transformational growth, while in the throes of rapidly changing technological environments, almost sixty percent of Healthcare organizations have embraced IoMT devices. And they’re not doing it for their health. Rather, they have recognized increased visibility to patients for whom they can provide better care at lesser costs.
This win-win scenario, however, contains negative aspects. Inherently, this new paradigmatic shift brings anxiety about the volume of data being exchanged, and its possible disruption and “glitches”.
Proper healthcare software tracking is reliant upon flawless accuracy. Medication dispensation and doctor-patient communications are among the many mission-critical items that are constantly in the scope of programmers and system administrators.
Patient health is of paramount concern in the IoMT world. However, developers can become superstars when their work also tracks and manages expensive medical equipment assets: diagnostic and MRI imaging machines, biomedical testing devices, Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) and vital-sign monitors, ultrasound displays, etc.
Custom healthcare software developers must properly balance:
- Increased productivity of medical staff
- Proper access to robotic and touch-screen tools for hospital and virtual home assistants
- Revenue generation through the efficient use of equipment.
A Half-Century of Telemedicine
Though the field of telemedicine is nearly fifty years old, the last ten years of IT development have revolutionized healthcare in a dramatic way.
Whether patients are bed-bound, or simply home-bound, any physical distance between hospitals, clinics, and physicians’ offices has been eradicated via the use of telemedicine.
City-dwellers and rural residents alike have found that the Internet is a great equalizer when it comes to consistent and regular access to the same high-quality medical personnel.
Video chat software such as Google Hangouts, WebEx, UberConference and Skype offer free – or moderately priced – access to all participants. Even Apple’s iPhones, iPads, and Macs enable “FaceTime” software technology that facilitates real-time audio and video calls. As well, medical consultations are occurring regularly via virtual call-centers, wherein multiple representatives can participate from different places.
The Healthcare Software Race Between Consumers and Employers
While consumers seek to understand and manage their own healthcare spending (routine checkup appointments, insurance coverage & corresponding out-of-pocket fees, medication, rehabilitation devices & facilities), online software simultaneously provides employers with digital tools that help determine the costs of employee healthcare.
Crunching big-number data means that business owners can better select customized plans that drive down otherwise expensive protections.
As you can see, the demand for custom healthcare software development services is quite high, and there are no signs of it diminishing in the near future. Selecting the right vendor with HIPAA compliance and a positive experience of implementing healthcare systems can become a challenge.
Velvetech has carried out several healthcare related projects in the recent years, laying down a solid ground of expertise for any of your requests. Let us know the issues you are facing in your medical practice, and Velvetech will be happy to assist.